Unemployment/idleness is an odd and disconcerting existence. All summer – which I spent writing my masters dissertation or ‘the zeft’ as it became known – I fantasised about September 15th when I would hand the zeft in and boot it up its retreating arse. I compiled mental lists of the interesting and edifying things which I would do in the hiatus before I went to Cairo, such as; reading non-fiction books on important issues of our time; going to the British Museum in order to look at the artefacts stolen by the British from other parts of the world; finding a temporary job…and so on.
Needless to say I have done none of this, preferring to immerse myself in the culture of British morning television programming. Later, when I inevitably became nocturnal and life before noon a distant memory, I moved on to the students/old people/unemployed dossers window between 1 and 5 pm. As any student, old person or unemployed dosser can tell you, the desolate wasteland that is British afternoon television usually consists of the following; self-help programmes (how to sell crap you find in your house at a flea market for 15 quid, how to lose weight, how to do your garden, how to buy a house in Spain, how to decorate your house, how to decorate your face); rubbish old films; Colombo; Scrabble-based cheap-arsed game-shows where the winner wins a dictionary; and Children’s TV. When the catatonia all this induces becomes too much and the sloth just too disgusting, I propel myself upstairs to Read Useful Stuff about law blah blah blah and instead proceed to read addictive blogs written by people with apparently as much free time, and as little to say, as me. (No offence to the one person who reads this). I do make contact with the outside world, in the form of the demon MSN Messenger, or I might even occasionally leave the house (oh promised land of the outside world!) to buy milk.
In my defence I am absolutely skint (borassic, broke, penniless), rather than lazy or dull, and free interesting things to do in London can be counted on one hand and usually require a consenting adult partner.
And so the sunny floral meadow of post-dissertation life which once shone so brightly has been paved over and a 12- storey car park smelling of pee erected in its stead, and I am stagnating. On a more positive note at least when I return to Cairo and inevitably stagnate there for a month, I can do outside in the sun.
This routine was interrupted only once, by a girls night out to a Baroque night where we waited two hours to see a man stick two forks up his nose, a 6 foot transvestite dressed as a geisha dance, an overweight Turkish looking man do a ‘comedy’ strip and a man dressed up like Alfred Hitchcock swallow a two foot balloon accompanied by 60s Austen Powers type music. It was all meant to be trendy London Bohemian kitsch (women came dressed in corsets and men in ‘sharp’ suits etc) but in fact it was more or less shite.